Debt collectors respond: What it's like for us

debt collectors
debt collectors

Not long ago, we shared the experiences of several Americans who had climbed their way out of deep debts. Their tales touched a nerve with readers who shared their own harrowing stories of their experiences with debt collectors. Some of these agents treated their debtors professionally; others, less so. Readers described dodging collection calls and hanging up on agents.

A few brave professionals also responded, complaining of the unfair mis-characterization of their jobs, and of them. What's it like to be on the other end of that phone, or on the other side of that doorway? Here's the consensus: Being a debt collector is a tough way to make a living.

"It was the worst, nastiest job I ever had. Every day, I would go to work stressed out," says Lisa Crowley, who handled receivables for a heavy-equipment company in Michigan in the late 1980s. Half of her job involved calling clients who hadn't settled their bills, from mom-and-pop businesses to the city of Detroit. Crowley stuck it out for a year before transferring to another department.